James, 35, dealt with a sore right groin right before the bubble games began, but it hadn’t appeared to be a problem for him. He also had a sore groin at the end of 2019, the same injury that caused him to miss a career-high 17 games during the 2018-19 season.
The Lakers were rolling before the season was suspended due to COVID-19, winning 13 of their last 16, but they’re 2-2 in the bubble so far. They’ve already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, so losing James for a game or two isn’t cause for alarm, but the Lakers need to rediscover their on-court chemistry — and fast. James is a big part of that, but it’s worth it for the Lakers to be cautious with their big star. They need him for the playoffs, which are only four games away.
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